The Bison Cultural Project
This 15-minute documentary showcases the innovative project funded by CMN, which focuses on the restoration of Plains Bison to the mountain landscapes of Mînî Rhpa Mâkoche, also known as Banff National Park.
The film showcases the rich cultural heritage and deep-rooted connection of the Stoney Nakoda people with the land, and their role in shaping sustainable conservation practices. Through breathtaking footage and captivating storytelling, the film presents a compelling narrative that highlights the importance of integrating traditional ecological knowledge with Western science.
The Bison Cultural Project provides an understanding of Bison habitat, behaviour and practices, from a traditional knowledge perspective. This more diverse foundation of knowledge provides decision-makers with an enhanced understanding of landscapes and assists in a more inclusive decision-making process.
The Bison Cultural Project was conducted by the Stoney Consultation Team of the Stoney Tribal Administration, along with assistance from Stoney Nakoda Elders, Knowledge Keepers and Youth. Collaborators include Parks Canada, Mount Royal University, and the University of British Columbia.
Principal Investigator: William Snow (Stoney Nakoda Tribal Administration)
Gilbert Francis (Bearspaw First Nation), Lenny Wesley (Bearspaw First Nation), Henry Holloway, Charles Powderface (Chiniki First Nation), Charlie Rabbit (Wesley First Nation), Hank Snow (Wesley First Nation)
Identify resources of traditional and cultural value within the reintroduction zone;
Document traditional knowledge (TK) and oral histories through video and audio media for historical, conservation and educational purposes;
Learn about related research on mountain wildlife in the project area, and other Plains Bison research;
Observe Plains Bison populations and habitat through cultural monitoring;
Provide opportunities for cultural exchange between Stoney Nakoda and Parks Canada. b. Long-term:
Use TK to provide insight into the wildlife and land management practices and policies;
Film a short documentary of the project for educational use;
Conduct outreach on the study for education partners, First Nation students, and environment groups;
Report findings to Parks Canada and policy makers for co-management development.
Final report & recommendations
April 2022 Final Report and Recommendations
The Bison Cultural Project’s report offers 11 important recommendations that provide an alternate understanding for Bison herd management.
Using cultural monitoring to understand bison in Banff National Park
Mountain Partnership, April 11, 2022
Stoney Nakoda combines western science with cultural teachings in bison monitoring
APTN, April 10th, 2022
June 2021 Presentation from Bill Snow on the use of Traditional Knowledge to Reintroduce Plains Bison in Banff.
As part of International Mountain Day 2016 celebrations, the Canadian Mountain Network partnered with Bison Belong, an education and advocacy organization, to bring together experts and the public in discussion of Parks Canada’s plan and the broader meaning of bison for indigenous communities in the region.